Former Seagulls midfielder Gary Dicker believes Albion’s central midfield partnership of Dale Stephens and Davy Propper has been key to the side’s impressive start to the season.
Both midfielders have become a mainstay of Chris Hughton’s side who sit in eighth position in the Premier League ahead of Monday evening’s game with Stoke City, and the former Brighton man sang the praises of the duo.
He said, “I think they’ve been two of the best players this year and they’re vital to the side with the back two of Lewis [Dunk] and Shane [Duffy] behind them as well.
“I think they’ve been really good on the ball too and I don’t think people give them enough credit - they’re a bit of an unsung pair and a lot of the praise is going to the duo behind them but those two deserve it as much.
“It’s hard when you haven’t always got the ball and need to chase it and they’ve done brilliantly and probably surprised some people too.
“They seem to be coming up against an overload in that area in this league but I think that suits them because they don’t mind retreating and being compact to play against.”
In the club’s debut season in England’s top flight since it’s inception, the Seagulls have surpassed expectations with where they currently find themselves after 11 matches – and Dicker praised the side as a whole after the eye-catching opening to the campaign.
“That probably goes for the side as a whole so far this season. – but I always thought they’d do the best of the promoted sides because they had a set way of playing and a good manger who’s kept the same group together.
“They’re winning and keeping clean sheets and you don’t see that a lot from promoted sides – you can’t lose games if you’re not conceding goals and they haven’t really been hurt by anyone throughout the season so far apart from Manchester City.
“They’ve got players at the back like Bruno too who’s a great footballer and now people are standing up and taking notice of him too at the age of 37.
“Brighton fans will tell you he’s been at that level ever since he walked through the door when I was there and he looks after himself really well.
“But they look solid all over the pitch – if they can avoid injuries then they’ll continue to do well because it’s a settled side.
“People like Glenn (Murray) will always score goals – when it comes into the box he’s always alive and he’s doing his job by putting the ball in the back of the net. It’s about goals and people forget that nowadays – it’s the hardest thing to do in this business and it’s a massive bonus.”
The Monday evening clash with Mark Hughes’s men will be the side’s first of a busy six-week programme, and Dicker insisted that the busy schedule would no doubt be one that the Albion relish over the winter months.
“Players enjoy a busy schedule more because you’re always playing – although there’s less time to prepare you have a great chance to pick up a lot of points in a short space of time.
“They’ll be looking forward to it and be excited by it – if it goes well then they’ll keep looking up rather than down as the season goes on.”
Gary was speaking to Albion Unlimited in their latest weekly podcast – supporters can listen to the full episode by clicking here.